As much good as the Electronic Frontier Foundation has done in keeping all things digital open, we're not sure if it needs to be spilling quite as much digital ink over a supposed case of digital rights management (DRM) in an upcoming electric vehicle.
The EV in question is the Renault Zoe, which we have long known would use a battery leasing scheme to keep the cost down. This is news from three years ago, but the EFF is now up in arms, writing:
We can't imagine the criticism Renault would generate if it tried a move like this. But still, if you lease something and then stop paying for it, what happens? When the repo men come, is it a rights management issue? No, not really. So, now that it has been revealed that Renault has the ability to "lock down" the battery in the Zoe if you stop paying, is this really an ownership issue? No, not really. It is a good thing that we know as much as possible about how companies control and keep track of our cars, but, like our friends at Green Car Reports, we won't join in calling this DRM in cars.
Video games with online components now routinely reach an end-of-life period where the company providing the authentication decides it's no longer worth it to operate the servers. That raises the frightening possibility of a company like Renault deciding that it's not cost-effective anymore to verify new batteries-and leaving car owners high and dry.